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Thomas Allen’s Playful Paper Cutouts Spring from Classic Books and Shade Swatches — Colossal

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#Thomas Allen

February 4, 2024

Jackie Andres

“Bearings.” All photos © Thomas Allen, shared with permission

Meticulous incisions and methodical folding permit scenes to come up from aged books and shade swatches in Thomas Allen’s paper cutouts. Having cherished pop-up books and shoebox dioramas since childhood, the artist cultivates a ardour for “manufactured realities.”

“The classic paperback work occurred by full accident,” Allen shares. “I used to be reducing right into a pulp novel one afternoon with the intent of eradicating the illustration fully after I seen that if I left some areas hooked up, folded the components rigorously, and checked out them from a single vantage level in order that all the pieces aligned, they created the phantasm of 3D pop-ups. Every little thing snowballed from there.”

By photocopying pages he intends to make use of, the Coloma-based artist could make check cutouts of potential compositions earlier than shifting on to the ultimate product. He then pictures every iteration whereas contemplating gentle and angle.

Allen spends the remainder of his time as a township clerk and public lecturer and is trying ahead to working with Joseph Bellows Gallery within the coming months. You could find extra work and updates on his web site and comply with him on Instagram.


A small boy leaning against a tree branch stands in front of a textbook diagram of an eclipse.


A group of young children low to the ground look at something together. The figures emerge three-dimensionally from a book page.


A cowboy falls backward, breaking a wooden railing. The figure and railing emerge three-dimensionally from a book cover.


A paper cutout of a man bowling emerging from a book


A paper cutout of a man bowling emerging from a book


Left: a vintage book titled, "10 Secrets of Bowling." Right: a man picking up a bowling ball.

Element of “Unyielding”

A paper cutout of a man bowling emerging from a book

Element of “Unrelenting”

A paper cutout of a man bowling emerging from a book


Two men talking, cut from a paper color swatch


Test cutouts

Take a look at cutouts in Allen’s studio

#Thomas Allen


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